GOLF’S most in-form player, Jordan Spieth, has vowed not to let anxiety come between him and Masters glory when he tees off at Augusta National today for only the second time.
Spieth came close to winning the fabled Green Jacket on debut last year, only to see a two-stroke lead disappear in the final two holes of the front nine as Bubba Watson snatched a second Masters crown.
The 21-year-old, who won a second PGA Tour title last month and has finished runner-up in both of his events since, blames nerves for failing to land his first Major but hopes to make amends this week.
“That was definitely the highest amount of pressure I’ve ever felt,” said Spieth, grouped with fellow American Billy Horschel and Swedish world No2 for the first two rounds.
“The hardest lesson taken from last year was that I had an opportunity to make a dream come true, and I had it in my hands, and then I was just a little anxious. You can make the excuse that, as a first-timer and 20 years old, that’s likely to happen. But in my mind, I was playing the best through 61 holes and had an opportunity to continue that the next 11 holes and didn’t quite close it out.”
Spieth arrived at Augusta 12 months ago ranked 13th in the world but is now behind only Rory McIlroy, Stenson and Watson in the pecking order, and confident of improving on his first outing.
“Last year I remember being in here saying I had no expectations,” he added. “This year, I come in maybe expecting to play well on a course I feel very comfortable on. I feel like it suits my game nicely and also I feel like I’ve been playing well.”